Wednesday, 01 November 2017 12:34
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People hold Spanish and Catalonia indolence flags after a speech by sacked Catalonian President Carles Puigdemont in Brussels, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. Ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is calling for avoiding violence and says dialogue is a priority during his first address on Belgian soil. Puigdemont on Tuesday recapped the issues which led him to leave for Belgium the previous day, but did not immediately say in his statement what he would do in Brussels or whether he would seek asylum. People hold Spanish and Catalonia indolence flags after a speech by sacked Catalonian President Carles Puigdemont in Brussels, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. Ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont is calling for avoiding violence and says dialogue is a priority during his first address on Belgian soil. Puigdemont on Tuesday recapped the issues which led him to leave for Belgium the previous day, but did not immediately say in his statement what he would do in Brussels or whether he would seek asylum. Olivier Matthys/Associated Press

BARCELONA, Spain — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local): The Belgian lawyer for Carles Puidgemont says the ousted Catalan leader should be questioned in Belgium regarding Catalonia’s bid to break away from Spain.

 Lawyer Paul Bekaert told the Associated Press on Wednesday that Puigdemont “is not going to Madrid and I suggested that they question him here in Belgium. It is possible.”

A Spanish national court judge has called Puigdemont to appear for questioning in Madrid Thursday. The ousted leader has been in Belgium since early this week.

 

“He can be questioned here, there are provisions in the law,” Bekaert said. He said there was no arrest warrant for Puigdemont at this stage.

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10:45 a.m.

The Belgian lawyer for Carles Puigdemont says he does not expect the ousted Catalan president to return to Spain in the coming weeks and certainly not for questioning by a Spanish national court judge on Thursday.

Lawyer Paul Bekaert told VTM network that “he is not going to Madrid.” He added that “as things look now, I cannot see him going back in the next few weeks.”

All 14 members of the sacked Catalan Cabinet are facing possible rebellion charges at home for driving a secessionist bid to a full declaration of independence on Oct. 27. The crimes are punishable with decades behind bars under Spanish law.

A judge has ordered them to appear for questioning on Thursday in Madrid. The investigating magistrate could order their arrest as early as Friday, no matter whether they show up in court or not.

 

In an interview posted on VTM Wednesday, Bekaert said that if Spain seeks Puigdemont’s extradition it would be up to Belgian judges, not the government, to make a decision.

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10:35 a.m.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s says that Spain’s seizing control of Catalonia following the region’s declaration of independence should have no immediate effect on the country’s sovereign ratings and outlook, but it warned of possible problems later in the year.

The agency said the government’s decision to intervene and call fresh elections “reduced the likelihood of a short-term escalation of tensions.”

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